Utah Board of Pardons & Parole

Considerations for Determining Length of Prison Sentence

Board of Pardons and Parole Initial Determinations

The Utah Board of Pardons and Parole considers an offender’s total sentence (what is referred to as the “aggregate” sentence), credit for time served, sentence expiration date, state law and sentencing guidelines when deciding an individual’s prison sentence length and possible prison release following the individual’s first hearing (what is referred to as an “Original Hearing”).

Total Sentence

The Board combines all of the current sentences imposed by the courts. From there, the Board determines an offender's "aggregate" sentence - which combines all concurrent sentences (or sentences running at the same time) and consecutive sentences (or sentences running one after another) into a "Total" sentence.

This process will define the total minimum sentence and the total maximum sentence.

Credit for Time Served

Board Administrative staff will calculate credit for time served in custody prior to commitment for the current sentence. The Board uses the credit for time served to create a "start date" from which sentence expiration, guideline date, and any imposed minimum sentence will be measured. The start date is the date the offender arrives in prison, then moved back in time by each day of credit for time served granted.

Sentence Expiration

Using both the "total sentence" and the sentence "start date," the Board calculates an offender's expiration date - which is the maximum length of ALL imposed prison sentences.

Board Grants of Earlier Release

Utah law requires that persons committed to prison must serve the entire sentence imposed by the courts, unless the Board grants an earlier release. If the offender is release to supervision in the community prior to serving their entire sentence, this is called "parole." Alternatively, the Board can "terminate" an offender's sentence prior to serving the entire sentence imposed by the courts without supervision in the community.

Sentencing Guidelines

Board Administrative staff calculates a guideline duration using the sentencing guidelines and instructions created by the Utah Sentencing Commission. All sentences imposed and being served at the same time are included in this calculation.

It is important to note that guidelines do not create an expectation of or right to prison release. However, they are helpful to the Board as it analyzes a specific offender's sentences in relation to other offenders who have similar convictions, sentence and offense histories.


At the time of an original hearing, each offender is provided with the Board's credit for time served calculations, guideline calculation, and individual and total sentence information.

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